FUMES
Tuesday, February 9, 2010 at 03:58PM
Editor

February 10, 2010


NASCAR's Perfect Little Distraction.

By Peter M. DeLorenzo

Detroit.
Now that the "Danica Effect" has hit NASCAR with full force, anyone wondering why the hottest commodity in American racing was so coveted by various NASCAR teams can be forgiven for their shortsightedness. Danica Patrick may be petite in physical stature, but she is absolutely gigantic when it comes to generating attention and buzz, which has been proven over and over again this past week in Daytona. And it has worked out perfectly, because Danica has been a much-needed distraction for the media away from NASCAR's litany of ills.

America's motorsports media and the traditional "stick & ball" sports media have combined with the national media to paint the Danica story from every possible angle, and much to NASCAR's relief such unpleasant topics as the boring racing, nondescript common template cars, a vanilla champion (even though there's nothing wrong with Jimmie being Jimmie), looming manufacturer unrest, empty grandstands, declining television ratings and "yestertech" technology, etc., etc., etc., have been swept under the rug or ignored altogether. As a matter of fact, NASCAR couldn't have asked for a more perfect scenario of news in its biggest week of the year.

And to Danica's credit, she has managed to say all of the right things and conduct herself with aplomb on and off the track, even showing well in her stock car debut by finishing 6th in last weekend's ARCA race. Now whether things will go as swimmingly well in her Nationwide debut on Saturday against much tougher competition remains to be seen (it's doubtful), but if Danica acquits herself well her first foray into stock car racing will have to be considered nothing less than a spectacular success.

NASCAR has to be counting its lucky stars that Danica Patrick was all the rage in the run-up to this year's Daytona 500, because without the Perfect Little Distraction of the "Danica Effect," the stories coming out of Daytona this week would have been completely different.

And the "heat" would have been coming from an entirely different direction.

 

Publisher's Note: As part of our continuing series celebrating the "Glory Days" of racing, we're proud to present another noteworthy image from the Ford Racing Archives. - PMD

(Courtesy of the Ford Racing Archives)
Daytona, Florida, February 18, 1962. A re-start during the Daytona 500 with pole-sitter Fireball Roberts (No. 22 Smokey Yunick-prepared, Jim Stephens-sponsored Pontiac) leading the way. Also visible are Jack Smith (No. 47 Pontiac),  Junior Johnson (No. 27 Holly Farms Pontiac), Cotton Owens (No. 6 Pontiac), Freddie Lorenzen (No. 28 Lafayette Ford) and Dan Gurney (No. 0 Lafayette Ford). Roberts would go on to win that day with an average speed of 152.529 mph, followed by Richard Petty  (No. 43 Petty Enterprises Plymouth) and Joe Weatherly (No. 8 Bud Moore Pontiac).


 

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Article originally appeared on Autoextremist.com ~ the bare-knuckled, unvarnished, high octane truth... (http://www.autoextremist.com/).
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